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What jetBlue Could Do Better Next Time

I originally titled this “jetBlue Is Letting Me Down This Time” but changed it. jetBlue is letting me down right now, but I’m trying to keep in mind what they’re going through right now instead of simply bitching about what they’re doing wrong.

Quick background: my husband, kids and I flew to Providenciales, Turks & Caicos on Friday for a three-night trip. On Sunday morning jetBlue let us know via email that our Monday flight home was cancelled, due to the impending hurricane, and that we had been rescheduled for Wednesday.

My husband decided to leave on Sunday. There were still seats on the one-and-only flight to JFK, and he wanted to make sure our house was OK.

As of now, our Wednesday flight home is cancelled, and we have not been rescheduled onto another flight. In fact, we’ve had no word from jetBlue at all – I just happened to check their website earlier to see if our flight was still OK, and saw that its status was cancelled.

I am not complaining that my flights keep getting cancelled. JFK airport isn’t even open yet, and I definitely don’t want to get on a plane and fly anywhere before it is safe to do so. But I am spending way more time and energy trying to deal with jetBlue than I should have to.

I’m extraordinarily lucky. I’m not stuck in an airport. I’ve had enough notice about cancellations that I haven’t had to pack up and check out of my hotel, only to check in again. And while I don’t have a convenient way to call you, I at least have internet. It would be wonderful if I could use the tools I have at hand to solve this problem without incurring any extra charges.

Here are some steps that I hope jetBlue takes in the future to make things easier for its customers when travel is impacted by weather.

Improve your phone system. We’re staying in a hotel that charges $1.10 per minute for calls (we don’t have cell service). We wanted to get my husband out of here on Sunday, which according to your website was possible, but in order to switch the flight we had to call. I wasted a lot of time and money on Sunday morning trying to call you at the number listed for Turks & Caicos, without success. When I would try, the call would connect, but after about 30 seconds of trying to get me to a customer service rep, it would tell me that the call was ending and that I should try back later. Each time I tried, it cost me $1.10.

If your phone system would put me on hold and get me in a queue and give me an estimate for how long I would have to wait, I could decide for myself if it was worth it, if I wanted to spend the time and money waiting. And I could know that with each minute waiting, I was getting closer to talking to someone. Instead, I just kept calling back for an hour, never getting anywhere. I feel like every other time I’ve called, you’ve had a normal hold system. Why change it now? Was your system simply overwhelmed? I understand long wait times. I don’t understand the actual phone system not being able to handle the calls.

Another option would be to not pick up. For a very long time, before everybody had cell phones and free long distance packages at home, calling Walt Disney World meant almost endless ringing. But that was done on purpose, so that you didn’t incur long distance charges on hold. Once someone could help you, your call connected. A number like this would be a great option for people calling from outside of the US.

Allow online changes. The fact that we had to deal with you over the phone was ridiculous in the first place. You listed a change code on your website. I should have been able to use that code and change my husband’s flight, online. In the end we couldn’t get through on the phone, and couldn’t make the change online, so we just had to buy him a new one-way ticket and hope that you would refund the increased fare difference after the fact. You did, so I give you credit for that, but it was an avoidable headache.

Send out automatically generated emails as soon as a flight is cancelled. I’ve known for more than five hours that my flight tomorrow was cancelled, but only because I happened to check the status myself. In retrospect I should have known that something was up when I didn’t get a check-in email earlier today, but someone else staying at my hotel on the same flight did get that email, and checked in, and also didn’t receive any notice from jetBlue that the flight was cancelled.

So I’m kind-of in limbo here. I have not officially been told that I don’t have to go to the airport tomorrow, but my flight is listed as cancelled. When I try to look under “Manage Flights” I’m listed as confirmed for a trip that starts on October 31st, but clicking the little drop-down arrow does not work and I can’t get details.

When I try to check in, I’m told that my flight’s status has changed and that I need to see someone at a full-service jetBlue counter. And I still have not received an email from jetBlue saying that my flight is cancelled. Very frustrating.

So that’s my advice. There’s so much in this situation that you have no control over, it would be great if you had a better handle on the things you do control.

Looking forward to getting back home at some point.

UPDATE: I was finally able to connect with jetBlue via twitter. I had tweeted to them on Sunday, with no answer, which was disappointing since they’ve helped me on twitter several times in the past. But it wasn’t surprising that I got no answer, given what was going on at the time.

They checked into my situation and told me that we had been automatically rescheduled on a flight…for Saturday. As frustrating as that is, at least I know and can plan ahead. I can buy more chocolate, for one thing.

Our quick three-night getaway has turned into eight. Feeling a little like Gilligan. I didn’t bring as many clothes as Lovey Howell, but at least I have a washer and dryer. When the Harlem Globetrotters show up, I will know that this vacation has officially jumped the shark.

Originally posted on Selfish Mom. All opinions expressed on this website come straight from Amy unless otherwise noted. This post has a Compensation Level of 0. Please visit Amy’s Full Disclosure page for more information.

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